Letter: Bissaillon Is the Right Choice
To the Editor:
The race for state representative in the 1st Berkshire District is a critical one for the residents of this area. When it comes right down to it, who do you envision being the best candidate to stand up at the State House and do all they can for our district? There is no better choice than Dave Bissaillon. He has a passion for this area that is unparalleled. He is a community leader, a business leader, a strong supporter of many local causes and a volunteer of countless nonprofits. Because of these and many other reasons, I know he will succeed in Boston.
I have known Dave for a number of years including attending Bryant College together. He was extremely involved with the college, just as he is involved with this community. This position represents a perfect opportunity for him to apply all of the experiences, accomplishments and relationships he has towards the betterment of our area.
We live in challenging times locally, and at the state level. It is critical that we elect someone who understands this community and is best able to go to Boston on our behalf, and be effective. Dave spent five years as the president and CEO of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, a position that demanded a regional perspective and the ability to work well with many different stakeholders to get things done. In that time, Dave was very effective in bringing various people together from all over Berkshire County to solve problems and increase collaborative efforts. He understands the importance of education, was involved with the creation of an online county wide building inventory and the advent of the Berkshire Economic Development Corporation among other specific efforts to help the county.
In the end, Dave has a clear track record of community involvement that should be considered strongly when we all vote on Sept. 14. Please join me in supporting Dave Bissaillon for state representative in the 1st Berkshire District on Sept. 14. You will be making the right choice.
'Planet Valenti' Endorses MacDonald
ADAMS, Mass. — Dan Valenti, a local columnist and commentator, recently endorsed Ed MacDonald for state representative from the 1st Berkshire District in "Planet Valenti," a column he writes for The Pittsfield Gazette.
In his column, Valenti writes:
| ... Ed MacDonald, David Bissaillon and Gail Cariddi. There are no Republican candidates. The victor moves unopposed to November, so this is the de facto finale. The winner will have Dan Bosley's large muck boots to fill.
MacDonald, it seems, won't shy away from the inevitable tough votes ahead. His decisions to cut the budget in Adams cost him a post on the select board. You have to admire that kind of political spine.
Cariddi, a 20-year veteran of the North Adams City Council, talks about the tough cuts needed to address the state's massive debt. The Planet asked her how this squares with her recent kissy vote for Mayor Dick Alcombright's budget, which places a whopping 10 percent increase on the backs of already bedraggled taxpayers.
'How can the taxpayers trust you?' we asked. She had no answer. Cariddi, carumba.
Bissaillon made lots of friends in his years at the Chamber of Commerce, and The Planet likes his private-sector instincts. However, he's a go-along-to-get-along guy, everybody's friend, and analyzes things to death. It's hard to see him making the right kind of noise in Boston.
The Planet endorses MacDonald to overturn benches on Beacon Hill.
|Tags: MacDonald, Valenti|
MacDonald Calls for Small-Business Credits
ADAMS, Mass. — Ed MacDonald, candidate for state representative, has released the following information regarding small businesses in the commonwealth.
The 600,000 Massachusetts small businesses are vital to the financial well-being of the state's economy. Their contribution is essential for economic growth since they make up almost all employer firms in the state. As entrepreneurs and innovators, small-business owners represent a diverse group that continues to keep the state's economy productive. In these difficult times as much as we need to cut spending, we also need to invest in creating jobs.
The commonwealth has invested hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of capital dollars into technology development initiatives over the past decade. Our state continues to be a leader in innovation and technology, outpacing competitor states in research and development, new patents, and federal innovation grants, according to Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. We need to build upon this success.
The bottom line is creating jobs. Massachusetts should establish a wage credit for each new job that is created. This credit should be for jobs created in the commonwealth and that stay here.
I propose the establishment of a wage credit for new jobs created by small companies of fewer than 100 employees in Massachusetts. This credit should be for up to 20 percent of the wages paid to any new hire or up to a maximum of $15,000. If the job is created in a high technology company in a field of projected growth such as biotechnology or nanotechnology, this credit should be increased to $25,000. Change the tax code for Massachusetts to be equal to the federal statute that allows businesses to claim losses for more than one year. This will help small businesses retain lost revenue and make them equal with federal regulations.
The credit should also increased to the higher level if the employer hires a dislocated worker, a lower income individual or a veteran. I recognize that small startup companies often do not have any real income in their formative years when they most need to hire new staff, so this tax credit should be refundable. To protect our taxpayers, these jobs must be retained for two years in the commonwealth, if not the value of the credit must be repaid to the state.
|Tags: MacDonald, small business, taxes|
Cariddi Interviewed on Willinet
We received a letter and link from Bill Densmore of Williamstown with his interview of state representative candidate Gail Cariddi.
|Yesterday I taped a half-hour interview with Gailanne Cariddi, one of three Democratic primary candidates for the First Berkshire District set being vacated by Daniel Bosley. As could any citizen of Williamstown, I took the opportunity to request free airtime on WilliNet, our community access cable television resource.|
Densmore is a former editor of The Advocate and now a consultant and leader in shaping Web journalism. However, Densmore said he interviewed Cariddi "as a partisan, not as a reporter" for broadcast on WilliNet so don't expect any sharp questioning but he does go into how she's campaigning and what she's hearing on the trail. If anyone knows of any other candidates using YouTube or other online service, let us know and we'll post the links for everyone.
|Tags: Cariddi, WilliNet|
MacDonald Explains Strategies for Cost-Cutting, Collaboration
ADAMS, Mass. — Edward MacDonald , candidate for state representative in the 1st Berkshire District, released a statement Thursday that explained several key ways to reduce budgets and work collaboratively with other communities:
“My experience as town administrator in Chester can serve as a good example of how a city or town can address its own financial and other problems, within the framework provided by existing state law. When I started in Chester in 2009 the town was having severe financial difficulties. An audit determined that the town had an approximate deficit of just under $380,000, the tax rate was still not set six months after most other towns had set their tax rates, the then-town accountant had made errors that concealed other problems, and the financial picture looked bleak.
Our first step was to achieve efficiencies within town government, by trimming hours of operation, reducing utility usage and ensuring all employees were working efficiently and effectively. The selectmen then decided to ask the town if it wished to raise its own taxes through a Proposition 2 ½ override. Chester is not a wealthy town and does not have a strong history of passing overrides, so the voters declined, and we didn’t pursue the option of adopting local lodging or meals taxes because the town has too few of these establishments to make it worthwhile. We then had to make the hard choices on how to further cut the budget. We laid off employees, made other cutbacks, found a less expensive town accountant who could properly perform the accounting functions, and were finally able to cut the budget and eliminate the $380,000 deficit.
Chester, like many other cities and towns in the Bay State, isn’t out of the woods yet. Additional state aid cuts are looming and operating a municipal government is not becoming less expensive. Some items, such as employee health insurance, fuel and utility costs and road maintenance materials continue to increase in cost. In the face of all these challenges, I am committed to helping municipalities thrive.
Working with a neighboring community is not new to Massachusetts, but the strong emphasis on more formal regional arrangements is new. During my time in Chester I have assisted in creating an arrangement with Becket for lower-cost vocational education transportation and I have worked with various regional agencies on infrastructure improvements and regional waste disposal. As a state representative, I will play a key role in facilitating such arrangements between and among the cities and towns in the 1st Berkshire District. We can do this without giving up our local community identities, a source of pride for most of our citizens. And by doing so, we turn our tax dollars into smart dollars, stretching our limited resources in sensible ways that maximize their spending power, without putting an undue burden on our property taxpayers.
The other important step in helping cities and towns is the Municipal Relief Act. Passed by both the state House and Senate and subject only to a joint conference committee and final approval by the legislature and governor, the new law will allow cities and towns to cut costs by capping municipal pensions at $125,000 per year, offering early retirement incentives and tax amnesty programs and using email for tax billing. It would also allow school districts to share school superintendents and cities and towns to create joint tax assessing agreements. Other provisions would extend local pension funding schedules, increase the threshold at which cities and towns must require bonds by private contractors working for the municipalities, and establish many other measures that will provide financial relief to cities and towns.
As your state representative, I will work with other legislators who want to assist municipalities by helping to pass such additional measures and by reducing expensive burdens imposed by the state through laws and regulations that unnecessarily constrain municipal operations. I would also work to revive the dormant Municipal Incentive Grant Program and the Circuit Rider Program. The MIG program provided small grants to cities and towns to allow them to try innovative solutions to common municipal problems and the Circuit Rider Program provided financial incentives to very small towns to hire professional administrators. Both programs were very successful in the past, but were foolishly eliminated as part of prior state budgets cuts. These programs cost relatively little for the state, but provided significant boosts to cities and towns.
Cities and towns can only go so far in helping themselves, both in the revenues they can raise and by adopting efficient and effective practices that can save them and the property taxpayer money. After that, it’s up to the state legislature to provide additional tools for success and to eliminate legal barriers to good governance at the local level. If cities and towns are to survive these difficult times, they need all the help they can get, through utilizing best practices to achieve efficiencies, implementing promising recommendations of the regionalization commission, taking advantage of new measures in the Municipal Relief Act and by insisting on additional programs and assistance from a state government that too often treats its municipalities like after-thoughts.
The government that is closest to us must be strong and vibrant and provide the critical services that our families need to thrive, because our communities are where we live, work, and play and educate our children. As your state representative for the 1st Berkshire District, there will be no stronger an advocate for the cities and towns of Massachusetts. I ask for your vote on September 14."